On the 31st of August, I saw a post about something called the Great Southern Bioblitz on a Facebook page about Fynbos and made an enquiry. The author gave me some information and I went and had a look – whereupon I discovered that our UNESCO recognized biosphere was not included! When I queried this with the fynbos fundi she suggested that I request the Kogelberg be included, and gave me Tony Rebelo’s handle – adding that he was expecting to hear from me.
And so I very innocently made this request … having only just downloaded iNaturalist and sporting a whole four observations! Before I knew it the Overstrand (which encompasses the Kogelberg region) was part of GSB21 and I discovered that I was now the project manager and somehow had to get this entire area informed, onboard and participating!
The first thing I did was contact Jenny Parsons – a friend I had made when moving to this area three years ago, and the person who had activated my interest in flora. Up until we had moved to Betty’s Bay I had not even noticed the different plants – other than perhaps admiring a flash of colour here and there, but botanists like Jenny, who shared her beautiful photographs of flowers and birds had titivated my interest and I started walking with her and taking photos of fynbos too. She encouraged me to try and find out what the plants were and to join iNat – which I eventually did. Just in time, it seems!
Jenny was excited to assist and suggested we contact Magriet Brink – also a keen plant photographer who, together with her parents, run the gorgeous Kleinmond Fynbos page on Facebook. She had successfully taken the prize for the most observations for Cape Town in GSB2020, and is very clued up on iNat and GSB, so a great addition to the Overstrand team. We met, made some plans about who to contact, what to do and … the rest, as they say, is history!
Our primary tool was Facebook as I run the Betty’s Bay Conservancy page, Jenny runs the Pringle ReWilding page and Magriet the Kleinmond Fynbos page. Our networks for conservancy, birding, photography, CREW, BotSoc, SANBI, etc were amazing at getting their members involved and putting the message out in the short time we had available.
A fly of the Subfamily Calliphorinae observed by Sandy Immelman
Kolkols, Genus Berzelia observed by Sandy Immelman
Common Pagoda Mimetes cucullatus observed by Sandy Immelman
What an inspiring experience this was – and I have to say the fact that we came in second in the Southern hemisphere is the cherry on top! I am immensely grateful to Jenny and Magriet, as well as Taylum Meyer (The Village News), Tony Rebelo (SANBI), Rupert Koopman (SA Botanical Society), Stephen and Michelle (GSB) and everyone who participated. We now have a good idea as to what we need to do next year in order to really highlight how incredibly diverse our little part of the world is.
Over 14 300 observations by 175 observers and over 2 100 species – second only to Cape Town … not too shabby for a first attempt!
This blog was submitted by Sandy Immelman as an entry in the "A picture is worth a thousand words' challenge